I'm learning that it's also really important to know when to modify them.
I'm rewriting the last third of my WIP. It only became clear to me this weekend that this is a rewrite, not a revision. If my WIP were a landscape, it would be undergoing deforestation. Swathes of text are going away. It's scary. Working in a blank document helps--nothing is permanent. I can go back and try again if I don't like how this turns out.
But back to goal setting: I had set a goal to complete a work-through of my WIP by the end of this weekend. I even wrote it in my planner. I looked forward to finishing up on Sunday, feeling satisfied by where my WIP would be at, making a check mark in said planner, and awarding myself an imaginary gold star. I'd take a day or two off before I dive back in for round 2 of edits.
Then on Saturday afternoon I realized that there was NO WAY I was going to get to the end this weekend, even though I was working so diligently. Mainly that was because I haven't figured out yet how the end should happen. Doh. I'm a plotter, and I was attempting to pants a rewrite to power through it. Not a good idea.
I spent the rest of Saturday frustrated and doubtful. Loose ends in my stories stress impatient-me out. I had to accept, though, that it's not possible to breeze through revisions and rewrites. Struggles are part of the process. Sometimes you have to wander down the wrong path to see which way the story should go. You need time to figure out what changes work. Sometimes you need to go back to the plotting board for a few days. Flexibility is important. The takeaway: Goal-setting when revising is perhaps not as straightforward as goal-setting for drafting.
So I crossed out that goal in my planner. Instead, I set an intention to work steadily, and give myself the time I need to do this right. I sat down with blank paper and starting plotting. I think I know where I'm writing toward now. Hopefully, the result will be a revised and partially rewritten MS that is everything I want it to be. When I'll have that--who knows, but I'll get there eventually. And then I will buy some gold-star stickers.